After eight internal selections, San Marino chose to have its first national final last year via the independently-run, global internet selection 1 in 360. One year later it seems like it may have been a one-season affair.

On August 28, 1 in 360 released a statement saying ‘nothing’s certain’ about whether there will be another edition of the show. The tweet was released after Eurovision fans found a promo video of the show’s re-brand, seeming to hint at an intended return.

But the Tweet does not mention San Marino, suggesting the format may not be tied to any single country.

Indeed, it was previously rumoured that 1 in 360 would be used as a selection format for another country with names like Montenegro being floated. It’s also known that back in Lisbon, the company behind 1 in 360 invited heads of delegation to an exploratory brunch where they offered their services to any interested country. It’s unclear who continued the conversation afterwards.

The turbulent history of 1 in 360 and San Marino

The highly anticipated selection was welcomed by Eurovision fans and former NF stars last year, as it seemed to give them another, more inclusive opportunity to sing at Eurovision. It was sort of an ‘all-stars of selection shows’, but also a democratic one. Hopefuls simply had to upload a video to the 1 in 360 site for consideration.

That simple audition process came with some teething issues, as organisers underestimated the extent to which they would receive fake entries and entries submitted on behalf of other people. Among the many ‘entries’ were fake submissions on behalf of former NF star Margaret and Eurovision 2015 entrant Maria Olafs.

A total of 1,050 entries were received. Less than 1% of the entrants earned one of three wildcards to join the jury’s eight hand-picked acts.

The process was criticised for being unclear and inconsistent — the rules seemed to change every week. The most controversial wildcard of all was the fan vote in which 1 in 360 allowed people to vote for their favourite entrant and the entrant with the most votes would win the wildcard. After a ten-day fan vote, Italian Giovanni Montalbano won with a staggering and suspicious 388,712 votes. Many alleged fraud.

The wildcard selection was not the only aspect of the selection that raised eyebrows. The song selection did too! Nearly every competing song was written by Zoë Straub and her father Christof, who was one of the main organisers of the show. 1 in 360 later stripped Zoë of her jury duties to prevent a conflict of interest.

When the recorded live shows eventually took place, another controversy arose. Initially, the only way the public could vote for an act was to buy a €1 online vote for an act and/or purchase royalties of a song. The more people who bought online votes, the more important the public vote would be compared to the jury. Later, 1 in 360 scrapped the online vote and gave the same weight to the public vote as the jury vote. The public could therefore only vote by investing in royalties of their favourite song. Many people are still confused about it all.

Austrian Sara de Blue was the clear favourite to win the selection with her track “Out Of The Twilight”. It was a big shock when Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening won the show with “Who We Are”…even for songwriter Zoë Straub whose facial expressions said more than words ever could.

In a recent interview she had with us, she told Deban: “I think [Jessika and Jenifer] are great. I was part of the songwriting process for all the songs, so it wasn’t really something like that I preferred one song more than the other one… I think that when you listen to the fans, the people, you heard who was in their opinion the one who should have gone. (…) I have to be diplomatic, I can’t say anything bad now. (…) Sometimes you need a bit of timing, a bit of luck… you can’t really say that’s all about who’s the best or who should have been the best.”

The uncertain future of San Marino

With 1 in 360 not yet confirmed as a selection show for San Marino, it makes us wonder whether the microstate will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest next year. As of today, San Marino still have not officially confirmed their participation. It was assumed that the microstate would participate in Israel in 2019, when a video announcing the comeback of 1 in 360 was discovered, but the British company has no assurance whatsoever that it has the ability to produce the show for a second time for SMRTV.

Do you think that San Marino will use 1 in 360 for a second year in a row or do you think that the microstate’s Eurovision days are over? Would you like to see a return of 1 in 360 for any other country? Let us know in the comments below!

Read all our San Marino news here

Original picture: Lauren Outerson, EuroVisionary

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Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Adding to the criticisms were: – The live streaming of the Final didn’t seem to practically work. – The most interesting member of the “panel” couldn’t make the Final, which was a let down. – Having some of different singers share the same song disadvantaged some of them unfairly (e.g. Seb & Franklin with “Stay”). If they were going to share songs, it could have been more evenly distributed. – IROL. (I don’t need to explain this, do I?) – The parody of having larger than life reality show presenters without an audience (for the non-live shows). At best, this… Read more »

Adam
Guest
Adam

Well, there’s always Valentina Monetta…

Regina Phalange
Guest
Regina Phalange

This selection was a nice idea but the voting system was a MESS.

LavliAzeriBoy
Guest
LavliAzeriBoy

I still can’t get over the fact that they chose Jessica and Jennifer over Sara de Blue. smh

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

The NF was really getting good for starters as it doesn’t have to be a grand one like Melodifestivalen or San Remo Festival. And the songs and artists this year were amenable. It’s just that the voting is the problem which probably led to this situation that’s happening now as a lot of people are seeing that.

GUEST
Guest
GUEST

If the do not have singers from the country to send, then I do not see the point of competing in the contest.

This is not a talent show, it’s a contest where one represents his or her country.

Fafafa
Guest
Fafafa

Yes, that’s why Switzerland was represented by Canadians and Estonians. Many Luxembourg winners were actually French (it also applies to Monaco and Severine). Nationality has nothing to do here.

EscAU
Guest
EscAU

if it weren’t for 1in360 we wouldn’t have been exposed to the brilliance of ‘party shore’ so let’s hope there’s more to come 😉

Boycott Jerusalem 2019
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Boycott Jerusalem 2019

San Marino should just take the Cyprus approach and reel in the stars from neighbouring Italy.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

Maybe they should organise something like UMK 2018, but with Valentina Monetta (if she still wants to come back)?

Eastman
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Eastman

It really felt like they were making it up as they went along, but by the time it got to the grand final, the format of 1 In 360 was in a good place and it could definitely work again.

By the way, which one of these rumours is more likely to explain why Who We Are won?

1) The San Marino broadcaster wanted a song that wouldn’t qualify for the grand final, to cut back on the expense of two more nights hotel rooms and expenses.
2) The robot sponsor offered them many euros if the robots made it to Eurovision.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

I am gonna say the first rumor. Would have paid more if the robits were in the final!

Dame Tu Conchita
Guest
Dame Tu Conchita

It’s probably better to stay in a hotel and have expenses that are equivalent to their country’s size then.

Weißbrot
Guest
Weißbrot

I mean… The ,,voting” of 1 in 360 was a total mess. I have NO idea who came up with that funding nonsense. The Concept itself wasn’t that bad and there were some solid songs, but if ,in the end, the person almost everyone clearly wanted to win (Sara de Blue) doesn’t go to Eurovision because some people thought it would be a good idea to just give 12 points to everyone who got 8000 or more euros. then there is something wrong. They should rethink some things I’d say….

Gorilla716
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Gorilla716

I think San Marino should just withdraw forever. They’ll never win Eurovison and even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to host it.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

And do you think San Marino is the only one in that situation?

James
Guest
James

Portugal says hi.

Shanfa Chai
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Shanfa Chai

If small countries like Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, and Moldova were able to place 2nd/3rd (almost close to winning), why can’t San Marino?

San Marino just need a good song that stood out.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Small country like BULGARIA. Get yourself together.

Eastman
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Eastman

Quite! Population 7 million! Not exactly a small player!

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
Henrikh Mugosa

If they won, San Marino could host in Florence. For instance. Not too far away from San Marino.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

They should give it another go but fix the flaws.
The televoting concept was horrible last year and made Sara de Blue lose, otherwise, she would have won…
And that’s just one flaw.

Felicia
Guest
Felicia

UK could benefit from it